The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the health and economy of the world. The higher-ed landscape has seen a significant impact, as instructors are overwhelmingly utilizing remote conferencing services and are charged to meet students where they are. The question is: “Are we truly meeting them where they are?”

First, let’s consider the students who have been abruptly uprooted from their traditional college experience and told that their only option is to do online learning. Enduring a transition like this can be daunting and unsettling. It is safe to assume that many students chose brick and mortar colleges with the expectation that they would only engage in face-to-face instruction.

Related content: Do students feel prepared to learn online?

Secondly, one must consider the faculty in this equation. This pandemic has challenged faculty to adopt pedagogical approaches that they may not be used to and are not in favor of using. Although this paradigm shift has forced institutions to embrace online learning environments, it is not preferred by all instructors and can be challenging to implement across individual disciplines.

Although these dispositions and preferences are known, the unfortunate reality is that the move to embrace online delivery was the only option for many institutions. This quick shift has exposed obstacles and a lack of resources among students that would otherwise not be revealed in the traditional college setting.

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About the Author:

James K. Winfield, M.Ed., is Director of Student Retention, Student Success Center, Division of Academic Affairs at Benedict College.

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